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  • Immigration caravan travelers prepare to board a Greyhound bus for Phoenix following their release into the United States from U.S. Customs officials in San Diego, California. May 7, 2018

    Immigration caravan travelers prepare to board a Greyhound bus for Phoenix following their release into the United States from U.S. Customs officials in San Diego, California. May 7, 2018 | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 May 2018

A transgender woman and ICE detainee died of a heart attack in a New Mexico hospital. She was taken into custody 2 weeks ago at the San Ysidro Port in California.

Another ICE detainee - a transgender woman - died of a heart attack while in the agency's custody, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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Thirty-three-year-old Jeffry Hernandez had been housed in the transgender ward of the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, N.M., until she was transferred last week to the Cibola General Hospital, and then airlifted to Lovelace Medical Center. She died there from cardiac arrest on Friday. An autopsy is pending, reports the Albuquerque Journal.  

Hernandez, originally from Honduras, was taken into custody on May 13 in San Diego after applying for "admission" into the U.S. at the San Ysidro Port, California. She was then transferred to an ICE holding center in El Paso, then to Cibola. ICE says that Hernandez had been diagnosed with HIV was suffering from signs of pneumonia and dehydration shortly after being taken into custody.

This was Hernandez's third attempt at entering the U.S., being deported twice since her first attempt in 2004.  

ICE authorities said in a statement regarding the agency’s most recent death: "Consistent with the agency’s protocols, the appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies have been notified about this death. Additionally, ICE has notified the Consulate of Honduras in Houston, of Hernandez’s death, and Honduran consular officials will attempt to notify her next of kin."

Since October 2017 six ICE detainees have died while in custody. Fifty-six ICE detainees died while being held during Barack Obama’s two administrations (2009-2017), according to a joint publication by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Detention Watch Network (DWN), and National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC).

"Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay," reports ICE.

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